Rick Perry Gives Small California Gun Shop a Big Texas Welcome

It's thirsty work being Rick Perry. You have to stand in the warm May sun outside a gun shop and wax poetic about the virtues of firearms, laissez-faire capitalism and how much California blows. It's no wonder then that you would promptly hightail it across town to the local brewery. After all, what could go better with guns than beer?

The correct answer is whiskey of course, but there's no commercial distillery in Shiner, where Governor Perry gave a warm Texas welcome to Shield Tactical, which is both the state's newest firearms retailer and a refugee from California's gun regulations.

In the Golden State, "it's like before you put up your range you have to be worried about whether the noise level is going to bother the 10-headed duckmouse," Shield Tactical's John Harrington explained to The New York Times. In Texas, "it's an iota of bureaucracy."

With the move to Shiner, everyone's happy. Harrington gets to escape burdensome regulations while Perry gets to crow that his effort to lure businesses from California, which seemed to the untrained eye like a shallow publicity stunt, has been a success. And all parties get to milk it for everything it's worth.

Shield Tactical doesn't seem to be a particularly large catch. It's not one of the gun manufacturers Perry and lawmakers have been wooing. It's a modest, family-owned affair that sells guns and offers training. There were no handy figures on how many people it employs, but claiming that it's an economic development coup is a stretch.

For Shield Tactical, the publicity generated will more than pay for the move. And while Harrington's complaints about California are genuine enough, they seem more calculated to play on the conservative hysteria over gun control. You don't print up "Shove Gun Control Up Your ... (picture of a Democratic donkey)" T-shirts when you're making a thoughtful critique of a state government's regulatory policies.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson